Friday, February 7, 2014

Swan Sighting

Today I found myself near the lake again, so I thought I might be able to get a picture of the swans. I was on the opposite side of the lake from Wednesday, but of course, so were the swans! At first the two cygnets were on their own, but one of the adults swam over to them when it thought I might be a threat. I did manage to get a couple of shots on maximum zoom. Here's the adult with the two cygnets:
Looking at that photo I was concerned that the adult appeared to have something stuck on its neck. I checked my other photos and found a clearer picture, where is was obvious that it wasn't a piece of rubbish, it is a numbered collar:
So, what is the significance of "R13" on this swan's neck? That took a bit of googling, but I found this article
via an image search:
Citizen scientists, the black swan needs you.

The article describes a research project at the University of Melbourne, and includes a link to the relevant website, The website has lots of good info about swans, and includes a page to upload details of your sighting of a tagged swan. So I told them about seeing R13 today:

This is the confirmation screen. Now I know my swan is the father of the cygnets, not their mother. He is only a year or so old, and was first tagged on Albert Park Lake. He was seen in Altona a couple of months after he was tagged, before he moved to this suburb. Unfortunately I can also see that he was seen on our lake in January with his partner and 6 cygnets, so sadly 4 must have died in the last month. I also discovered that male swans have black collars, and females have white ones, so I will know which I'm looking at if I see one in future.


  1. Fascinated by the swan project. I am going to Gippsland next weekens and I often see swans, so I will keep my eyes open

  2. That is really exciting Vireya! Sad about the cygnets that didn't make it...but that's how it is in nature I guess.

  3. How exciting! When we were in England a couple of years ago, we spoke to a volunteer who was capturing a cygnet - to be tagged - it had been adopted by the couple & their cygnets. Very unusual for swans to adopt!

  4. What an great project! The black swans are gorgeous birds.

  5. Very interesting. I don't know of any project in NSW but will keep a watch out.

  6. How exciting for you and what wonderful work these folk do.
    Well done you.

  7. Vireya, thank you so much for posting the information about swan sightings. I will keep the link for future use.
    As much as I appreciate and support the project and the banding of the birds, it is a shame that the band somewhat spoils the aesthetics of a beautiful bird. I guess it is a small price to pay if it helps preserve the species.

  8. great photos, I love Albert Park lake, on Saturday when we were driving around on our way to the Sth. Melb. market we say two pelicans! I've never seen them at the lake before

  9. Have you been watching "Hello Birdie" 6:30 Saturday on the ABC? There is a project tracking cockatoo sightings in Sydney, sounds very similar to the swan project!
    PS we call them "baby singlets" - when the 10 year old was little he couldn't pronounce "cygnets" and said singlets instead!